Friday, June 29, 2018

Investing Energy-What's Working For Me: The News Edition

“When one is engaged in suffering, there is so much more to it than keeping it all together”.
This is a quote from Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. She said this in a TEDx talk in 2015 titled “Beyond the Cliff.”



There is a lot going on.

I get that it can be hard to focus, and hard to know where our focus is supposed to land. I believe this is by design.

I posted before about investing energy. This summer is similar, since my spouse’s full-time gig fell through and we’re adjusting to another new normal where we work mostly opposite schedules and reconfigure our finances. It’s also a little different, for the above reasons and other more personal ones. But I find myself reflecting more on how to cultivate energy, and how to make more “room in the margins” as Laura van Dernoot Lipsky puts it. (I saw her speak a few months ago and it was transformative. Check out her new book, “The Age of Overwhelm: Strategies for the Long Haul” coming out in July).

These are things that have been working for me. You are welcome to try them. You are welcome to mock me for them. Whatever you want to do, really, but I figured I’d share in case they might help:

Monday, June 18, 2018

I Have the Mind of an Infant: Mental Age Theory in Libraries

NOTE: If you're new here, welcome! When I write about accessibility, you will find that I use the terms "people with disabilities", "PWD", "the disability community", and "disabled people" interchangeably. This is something I deliberately do to challenge our institutional insistence on "person-first language."

I have this thing due to my cerebral palsy where the muscles in my right hand constantly want to be clenched in a fist. This runs the spectrum from annoying, since it distracts people, to frustrating, because if I’m holding something in my left hand I’m basically immobilized, to incredibly painful. All of my shoulder muscles are nearly constantly tense. Add to this the practice of mirroring; which is where my right hand just really wants to do anything my left hand does due to my mixed-up-rewired Frankenstein of a brain. This results in things like having to ice down my hand after work if I’m writing all day by hand, my right hand deciding that WE TOTALLY NEED TO CLENCH A TIGHTER FIST THIS IS A LOT OF WRITING WE’RE DOING. Standardized tests were a nightmare.

“This thing” is actually a leftover from the Moro reflex, a reflex useful to infants to cling to a parent for survival. It looks like this should go away by the time a child is 6 months old. I’m not big on developmental timelines, since there can be a lot of parental anxiety about that, but I’m thinking 35 is a safe age to say this shouldn’t be happening.

My brain is developmentally disabled, and my body performs in a way that mimics a baby. So, I have the mind of an infant.